Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Ice Ripples – Nature’s Amazing Creations

Location : Penzi La pass on Rangdum – Padum route, Zanskar, Western Ladakh, Altitude: 14,000’

Date: 1.6.2012
We started from Rangdum at around 7.30 am with ambient at minus one degree. Bypassing Rangdum monastery, we took to the gradient through mud-stone track, arriving for our first halt at Penzi La. Unlike other mountain passes of Ladakh, this one is on a flat land as far as eyes could go. The snow splattered hills and the snow covered flat land, in early summer, as seen from road, was picture post card of a beauty.

We found a signage indicating Statso/Langtso lakes. One of the two lakes could be recognized by gray outline on the base of a snow covered hill. The lake was totally frozen – all white. The azure colored lake at its pristine glory can be seen only after the snow totally melts around the lake in late summer.  

As for now, we caught up with the spectacle almost missed very near the road. This could be an early summer phenomena. The narrow trenches by the road side, collecting snow melt during day time and re-solidifying during night created ice mass mostly milk white and rest of it transparent. 

The mud road track with marks of vehicle tyres and boot marks of tourists create muddy patch. After sedimentation, the clear water lying at top solidifies into ice ripples at night time.

Untouched by anybody, the puddles of snow melted water near the road, with borders showing ice ripples, in non-symmetrical patterns is a spectacle in itself. 

A close-up of the ice ripples captured in diagonal composition can be seen in following frame. 

A patch of thin sheet of ice, near circular in shape, if seen carefully, concentric waves can be seen. It is comparable to transverse waves generated if a stone is thrown on water pool.   

Following frame captures water mass surrounded by ice ripples.

Note for the viewers: Ice Ripple phenomenon is something which I had never experienced before in all my tour of Himalayan destinations and trekking at many snow bound locations in early summer. My search through net has not yielded any worthwhile result. If any reference can be given by viewers so that I can have a reasonable scientific explanation for this phenomenon, it will be greatly appreciated.

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